"Or ever the knightly years were gone With the old world to the grave, I was a king in Babylon And you were a Christian slave," -W.E. Henley. His name was Charlie Mears; he was the only son of his mother who was a widow, and he lived in the north of London, coming into the City every day to work in a bank. He was twenty years old and suffered from aspirations. I met him in a public billiard-saloon where the marker called him by his given name, and he called the marker "Bullseyes." Charlie explained, a little nervously, that he had only come to the place to look on, and since looking on at games of skill is not a cheap amusement for the young, I suggested that Charlie should go back to his mother. That was our first step toward better acquaintance. He would call on me sometimes in the evenings instead of running about London with his fellow-clerks; and before long, speaking of himself as a young man must, he told me of his aspirations, which were all literary. He desired to make himself an undying name chiefly through verse, though he was not above sending stories of love and death to the drop-a-penny-in-the-slot journals.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - RajivC - LibraryThing
While, in general, I like Rudyard Kipling's writing, the quality of the stories in this book is patchy. That's my assessment. Some stories have power; some have pathos, and others were a bit muddled ... Read full review
As an Indian, I must admit that Kipling's views on the British Raj and on Indians themselves are highly racialist in nature. However, that does not take away from the exuberance of his writing. His many tales regarding Learoyd, Ortheris and Mulvaney make one feel as if one is part of that exciting group, while his spooky and mystical stories are beautifully penned. Although he does not understand Indians, he does understand India and I have never come across another English-language writer who describes India as accurately as Mr. Kipling. Whether he is talking about the Thar Desert, the great Himalayas, or the bustling northern cities, his words create an evocative picture.